Speed Cycling? ^.^;

squall7733

O. vulgaris
Registered
#1
Hello, I'm soon to set up a 120G. species only tank tomorow. Octopus!

It needs a mature tank but I'm hoping to get my octo in there by christmas. So I'd like to cycle it as fast as possible. Here's what I plan on doing, I would love to hear suggestions or critisism on my methods

-Do water changes on all my existing tanks and putting all the old water in the new 120G. tank. (should put in 40-50gallons at a minimum I am estimating) I'll make new water to fill the tank up.

-For substrate I'm going to use 50% live sand from two of my cycled coral grow out tanks, the other 50% will be new live sand from LFS

-Fill up the tank with 50% agrocrete(just rock nothing live on it, must be seeded), 50% live rock, hopefully uncured so that the bio load will jump. I'll most likely get it cured though.

-Will not skim for 2-3 weeks.

So here are a few other methods I was thinking about but was unsure if they would be effective.

~Leave lights on 24/7 for a couple weeks. Or at least more then 12 hours. Reasoning behind it that leaving lights on will increase algea and bacteria growth.

~Leave algea growth untouched. Not scraping it off the glass for about 4 weeks.

~I was also thinking about just throwing food in there , although there are no fish it would break down and cause ammonia to spike, feeding the bacteria process. Not sure if this would help at all, but I've heard of people spiking ammonia to speed cycle.


I dont plan on using fish to cycle, but I do have a few extra damsels floating around my tanks that I might toss in around the end of the cycle.

^.^; Anyone have any ideas I didnt think of!?



Ah I almost forgot!

final water Params

PH 8.3
Salinity needs to be 1.026 - 1.027
Ammonia and Nitrite near 0
 

DHyslop

Architeuthis
Supporter
#2
Sound like good plans to get it going. I suspect adding water from other tanks won't have as much effect--most of our nitrogen loving bacteria live in the substrate, filters and live rock.

Keep in mind there is a subtle but important difference between a cycled tank and a mature tank--that is, there's a lot more things in the system that are reaching equilibria other than just nitrogen! When I first set up my 75 the cycle was done in about 5 weeks, but I was still getting blooms of different algaes for another 5-6 weeks! Christmas may be a little ambitious, but try it and see.

I had to break the tank down for a cross-country move, and I set it back up about 4-5 weeks ago (minus the sump which I'm redoing, but I only keep the skimmer in there and I'm using powerheads for circulation in the display). Since most of the live rock I put in is already cured, I really haven't experienced any ammonia spike. Given that, however, I am getting those same "new tank syndrome" algaes coming through.

Dan
 

squall7733

O. vulgaris
Registered
#4
It's a pretty large tank. My assumtion is I shouldnt need to mature it for that long if I'm to keep my ammonia and nitrite close to 0. Like you said I'll still get algea blooms but I can deal with that :)
 

main_board

Vampyroteuthis
Supporter
#5
squall7733 said:
So here are a few other methods I was thinking about but was unsure if they would be effective.

~Leave lights on 24/7 for a couple weeks. Or at least more then 12 hours. Reasoning behind it that leaving lights on will increase algea and bacteria growth.

~Leave algea growth untouched. Not scraping it off the glass for about 4 weeks.

~I was also thinking about just throwing food in there , although there are no fish it would break down and cause ammonia to spike, feeding the bacteria process. Not sure if this would help at all, but I've heard of people spiking ammonia to speed cycle.
Just looking at the cycling aspect (not maturation), a few points to be taken with a grain of salt as they come from freshwater resources.

I have NO idea how this would affect the future stability of your tank, but nitrification takes place quicker at higher temperatures. Indeed, an increase is noted from 50 degrees F (where it practically halts) all the way up to 95 degrees F (past which it hasn't been tested)! Though you don't mention desired temp., I imagine you're aiming for some sort of common octopus, and therefore probably not tropical. As these octo tanks are often rather cold, I wonder if increasing the temperature during cycling would help. At the very least you could start out with a higher temperature, and as the cycle nears completion gradually bring the temperature down. Anyone ever done this? Does it work?

Second, the light thing. I understand that this would allow for a jump in establishment of the photosynthesizing species, but not all the bacteria that you want photosynthesize. Some interesting info I pulled off a site is that in frestwater tanks, plants and algae show preference to ammonia/ammonium uptake over nitrate. Indeed, when there is any NHx's around they all but block off nitrate absorption. Increasing the photoperiod will increase the amount of plants that live in your tank, and these will be in direct competition with the nitrifying bacteria for nutrients.

Finally, the food idea is a good one. I've heard of people successfully doing this before and it makes a lot of sense.

It clearly seems that you are doing something of great interest to almost all ceph owners. I think everyone would be interested in your results. Please keep us posted!

Cheers!


For a very interesting, more in-depth look at aspects of the nitrogen cycle, see: http://www.skepticalaquarist.com/docs/nutrient/nitcyc.shtml
 

Feelers

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#6
You can add vodka as a carbon source to help promote bacterial growth.
Sugar isnt a good idea but I know of many reefers who add vodka.

The vodka is a good choice as it doesnt add phosphrous (or much else for that matter), if you want I could try and dig up some info or ask on another forum about dosing for you.
 

tony7

Larval Mass
Registered
#8
I would not bother using that much old water. You bring the good with the bad. If they needed a water change don’t start a tank with that water. You may add some, but I wouldn’t add much more than like 5 gallons.
I would definitely use the 50% live sand. This will bring good bacteria and many other benefits.
I would go ahead and run my skimmer, but I have heard this approach before. I know a few people who would never run a skimmer for the first 2-3 weeks, so I don’t have any real advice on this one.

I wouldn’t leave the lights on 24/7. You will have a tank “maturing” under different circumstances than you actually plan to keep. I would light the tank the same way you plan to light when you get your octo. Part of maturing is the tank stabilizing to the conditions being provided.
I wouldn’t leave the algae growing for 4 weeks without scraping, but only because I wouldn’t want to scrape it all of after build-up. I think it is much easier to keep up on algae scraping than letting it go and having to attack a real algae problem.
I wouldn’t put any food in to cycle the tank. I have tried this before, and it worked ok, but it is a disgusting process. I used shrimp, but if I was going to do it again I wouldn’t use shrimp. The problem with this for me was you get a spike, but if you don’t add more the bacteria have nothing to feed on.
Using the damsels would be ok if you do it slowly and don’t put the damsels through to much stress. The biggest problem here is getting the damsels back out. This can be a pain, but it will keep the tank cycled and I think that is better than cycling with food.

Cycling the tank is different form maturing the tank. Cycling the tank doesn’t have to take three months, but letting it mature takes time. I don’t know any way to make a tank mature faster, but cycling can be sped up. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I have tried to help several people who didn’t want to take their time. I think the 3 month maturing period is a good idea. I wish you the best of luck whatever you decide to do. If you want more ideas for cycling faster, I will try to help but I need to know what filter you will be using. You can send me a message me if you want help.
 

squall7733

O. vulgaris
Registered
#9
This vodka idea is intrigueing me. I'd like to know more. As is I'll probly experiment with it, but I dont want to add too much and contaminate my tank. Is there a certain brand I should use?

From what I've read I'll add very little old water, one reason to do it is it saves me alot of money on salt lol.

Going to keep lights on a 8-9 hour period, and scrape algea as it builds, maybe get a clean up crew, which would most certainly become snacks later on.

I suppose I can keep temp around 80 for cycling and bring it down to 70 when I add mr octo.

Are there any fish that an octopus wont attempt to eat, fish I could keep in there for a couple years. Nothing spicey mind you, I certainly wouldnt want to put a lionfish in there.

Well my date got pushed back to start cycling, its tomorow again ._.
 

Feelers

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#11
The vodka thing doesnt need much - 1ml per 100L per dayto start with.
What happens is there is a large amount of freely available carbon and bacterial numbers increase, taking phosphate and nitrates into their systems. These can then be skimmed out, totally removing them from the tank.
One of the reefers who was using this actually had to add nitrates as corals need No's - not very much obviously.

What I would do is dose vodka for a period until you start up your protein skimming. Maybe 2 weeks worth of vodka, making a big bacterial population, - fast cycling. Then stop dosing and chuck on your skimmer.
This will suck out all the phosphrous and excess nitrates that often lead to algae. Hopefully you can aviod the new tank cyano problems lots of people get after cycling.
Vodka is often used in already matured tanks to make the water free of algae. The reason you dont hear much about it is that noone can make any money off it - its actually very similar to how zeovit works.

start with 1 ml per 100L per day slowly increasing to 10 ml per 100L per day on the second week. Not very much but it will still do the business!!!
Then skim away. After a week of skimming it should be sweet!!!
After starting using vodka the tank may go cloudy as the bacterial population increases. (dont worry it will all get skimmed)

Vodka is like adding food, but without any nitrate or phospherous content - pure carbohydrate. So the nitrates ect that are needed for biological processes have to come from whats already in the tank.


Oh i forgot this is with 40% vodka- 80 proof
 

DHyslop

Architeuthis
Supporter
#15
Munkybutt said:
Mmmmmm. Skimmer shots.

Why clean your skimmer when you can just add Red Bull and drink it?

Bonus!
In this month's Reef Central online magazine they had a top ten list of most disgusting things that have ever happened to people (compiled via their message boards) involving their aquariums.

About half of them involved skimmate. There was one memorable one with a sea cucumber and starting a siphon tube!

Dan
 

squall7733

O. vulgaris
Registered
#17
Well I finaly got the 120G today, set it up... I'm going to call it

Day 0
There is a very slight layer of sand in the tank at the moment, seeded sand taken from my current tanks, a very thin layer about 1/2" maybe 1/4".

The tank is full of sea water at a specific gravity of 1.021 , have more salt to add of course to get it up to 1.026 .

I imagine the temperature is around 60-65 at the moment, the majority of the water I used was rather cold. I'm starting to heat it up to 82 for the cyclying, then when I'm done I'll drop it down to 70

Currently there is no live rock, just about 30-40 lbs of non seeded agrocrete, there should be some bacteria and algea growing on about half of those rocks.

The water is really cloudy at the moment, and I'm only running powerheads and lights so I dont see it clearing up any time soon, maybe over night I guess I'll just have to find out.

I plan to goto the lfs tomorow and buy some live rock, probly half cured, so thatl give me some good bacteria die off and really help cycle the tank. Also have to buy a few bags of live sand(live because I HATE having to wash the other stuff out). Leaving lights on for a few days just to get it started then I'll put them on a 10hr timer.

Going to start doing vodka shots tomorow :) I expect it to move fast once I get going! I'll keep you guys posted weekly if your still interested, I would still appreciate tips and suggestions!
 

Feelers

Vampyroteuthis
Registered
#18
That sounds awesome, I'm gonna do the vodka thing too, when I finally get to filling my tank next year. Im interested to see how it goes. Are you running your skimmer yet?

You could do parameter tests every few days just to keep track, it would be great info for others who want to speed up tank cycling - like me!!! I'm impatient too :D

Your setup is remarkably similar to mine, I've yet to make my oystercrete, I plan on possibly "livening" it up in the ocean during the curing process. As we cant even buy live rock in NZ, only place to get it is off others!!! I cant afford that anyway so oystercrete it is.....
 

squall7733

O. vulgaris
Registered
#19
I'm not running a skimmer yet... teh tank is really a huge mess at the moment so I imagine any reading I take wont really show anything significant... I'll be finishing up the substrate and adding a few live rocks to add the bacteria to seed the agrocrete tomorow. I'll dose vodka in the middle of the day and take a reading that night.

Right now its in that really ugly, white milky cloudy water stage... I think I might run the skimmer just to clear up the water then turn it off for the cycling.
 

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